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Pox, poison and pit-bulls rule this Clink now. It is a sad prospect, and enough to make a sapient prisoner reflect upon the natures of Liberties in general. For we all love to phant'sy that we live in some sort of Liberty - if not of the Clink, then of the City of London or some other Jurisdiction wehre men are proud to style themselves Free. But under close inspection, how often do we find those Freedoms to be Chimaeras, and our cherished Liberties to be little better than my private flat in the upper storey of the Clink? We may put it down, I suppose, to the nostalgia for Merry Olde England, whereby all things, be they never so modern or outlandish, are viewed through a perspective-glass of ancient design, which promises to deliver a true image, but in truth distorts all that is sen through it. Merry Olde England did not have the modern Pox; and so brothels are no longer what they used to be. Bloody and vile baiting-pits it did not have either, at least, not in the number seen to-day, and not frequented nor managed by respectable men. And Merry Olde England did not have slavery: that queer institution whereby a man may own another, simply by saying that he does. But the true England of to-day has all of these things. So I do not much bemoan the fact that I am in the Clink while you, reader, are at Liberty; for the Liberties in which we dwell are but delusions. I would fainer dwell in a meaner Liberty with fewer delusions than roam about a great one while being used by the lies and deceptions of the Party in power.
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